Though the term “content marketing” broke onto the scene sometime in the late 1990s, the practice of creating useful content for the public that indirectly benefits a business has been a popular strategy for centuries. Rumor has it that even Benjamin Franklin’s famed Poor Richard’s Almanac was such a venture, as Franklin had opened a printing press in Philadelphia just a few years prior and sought to promote his new business. Whether or not this was actually his intent, both the printing press and the almanac found great success.
Just imagine what Franklin could have achieved with a podcast.
Since the advent of the iPod (a few centuries after Franklin’s printing press), podcasting has grown steadily in popularity, and that growth doesn’t seem to be slowing. Last year, a study found that nearly one in four Americans listen to podcasts on a regular basis. With the rising popularity of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, as well as integrated driving systems like Apple CarPlay, podcasts will only become more accessible and prevalent.
Why should I create a podcast?
[tweet_dis]As a fresh and exciting medium of communication, podcasts offer many benefits to solopreneurs and small business owners. Here are just a few:
- Even a marginally successful podcast can increase brand-recognition among potential clients and customers. Effective podcast marketing can pull in audiences your typical marketing strategies may not reach, and collaborative episodes featuring other thought leaders and business people can lead to significant growth in clientele.
- A regular phenomenon among podcast listeners is the feeling that they are building real relationships with the hosts of their favorite shows. As a solopreneur, this is more than you could possibly ask for: your clients begin to feel like you are their friend, even though they’ve never met you. This is the ultimate level of customer loyalty.
- Podcasters often look back at the earliest episodes of their shows with shame at how poorly produced and presented they are, but that’s okay! If your job requires you to speak publicly (which I bet it does), your podcast can serve as the perfect place for you to develop your oral communication skills.
- As I mentioned before, podcasts are great for collaboration! Depending on the style of your podcast, you suddenly have an open door to request interviews with all the industry leaders you’ve always wanted to have a conversation with.
It’s time to start experiencing these benefits for yourself. So, how do you make it happen?
Step 1: Plan It
Before you press record, there are several things to think about, many of which are interconnected. The first question may be obvious: What will your podcast be about?
Do you have some expertise you wish to share? Do you want to interview other business professionals? Do you have a niche interest you’d like to explore?
Even if your topic isn’t directly related to your product, that’s okay! In fact, that’s what content marketing is all about. Here, all you’re selling is you. Once your listeners buy into what you’re telling them, they’ll be more willing to buy what you’re selling them.
Another important question is how you want to format your podcast. This is where you decide how long and how frequent episodes should be. Your decision here should be informed by what you’re trying to accomplish with the podcast overall. For example, a “quick tips” podcast may find success with weekly 5-minute episodes, whereas an interview-based podcast would do better with one hour-long episode each month. Or, perhaps, you want something in the middle or even a blend of both extremes.
Whatever format you choose, there are two important things to remember here:
- Don’t overwork yourself. This project doesn’t need to consume your life or pull you away from your other responsibilities.
- Be consistent. Have a regular release schedule so your listeners know when to look for your next episode in their feed.
Once you have your topic and format down, it’s time to choose a title, make a logo, and get recording!
Step 2: Record It
While you may be able to get away with the voice recorder on your phone, your best bet will be to invest in some inexpensive recording equipment.
What you need will depend partly on the format of your podcast, but you should be able to get started for well under $100. There are good USB microphones available on Amazon which allow plug-and-play functionality without the need for a whole lot of technical equipment or expertise.
You’ll also need some recording software. If you use a Mac, you can hit the ground running with GarageBand. On a PC, free software like Audacity or Reaper can be downloaded from the internet with confidence and ease.
Once you have your mic(s) and software, you’re ready to go!
Step 3: Host It
It’s all well and good to have a finished podcast episode that you’ve planned, recorded, and maybe even edited, but what’s the use if you can’t let anyone hear it? Your final step in the process is finding a service to host your podcast so people can find it online.
Depending on your budget, format, and goals for the podcast, you can find many good options for hosting, with several companies even offering a very basic service on a free tier. These services can deliver your podcasts to iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and more, in addition to hosting the audio files on their own websites. Check out this short list for some recommendations to get you started:
And there you have it
Podcasting is a simple and effective way to build a loyal base of potential customers. Are you going to take advantage of this growing medium? Do you have any tips to offer from some podcasting experience of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and then get to work!